Mishna

Mishna or Mishnah [mish′nä]
n.
pl. Mishnayot [mish΄nä yōt′]Heb mishna, lit., (oral) instruction < root šnh, to repeat, (later) learn, teach
1. the first part of the Talmud, containing traditional oral interpretations of scriptural ordinances (halakhot), compiled by the rabbis about A.D. 200
2. any of these interpretations
Mishnaic [mish′nā′ik]
adj.

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Oldest authoritative collection of Jewish oral law, supplementing the written laws in the Hebrew Scriptures.

It was compiled by a series of scholars over two centuries and was given final form in the 3rd century AD by Judah ha-Nasi. Annotations by later scholars in Palestine and Babylonia resulted in the Gemara; the Mishna and Gemara are usually said to make up the Talmud. The Mishna has six major sections, on daily prayer and agriculture, Sabbath and other religious ritual, married life, civil and criminal law, the Temple of Jerusalem, and ritual purification.

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▪ Jewish laws
also spelled  Mishnah (Hebrew: “Repeated Study”),  plural  Mishnayot,  

      the oldest authoritative postbiblical collection and codification of Jewish oral laws, systematically compiled by numerous scholars (called tannaim) over a period of about two centuries. The codification was given final form early in the 3rd century AD by Judah ha-Nasi. The Mishna supplements the written, or scriptural, laws found in the Pentateuch. It presents various interpretations of selective legal traditions that had been preserved orally since at least the time of Ezra (c. 450 BC).

      Intensive study of the Mishna by subsequent scholars (called amoraim) in Palestine and Babylonia resulted in two collections of interpretations and annotations of it called the Gemara, or Talmud. In the broader sense of the latter terms, the Mishna and Gemara together make up the Talmud (Talmud and Midrash) (q.v.).

      The Mishna comprises six major sections, or orders (sedarim), that contain 63 tractates (massekhtaot) in all, each of which is further divided into chapters.

       Zeraʿim (“Seeds”), the first order of the Mishna, has 11 tractates. It begins by discussing daily prayer and then devotes 10 tractates to religious laws involving agriculture. Zeraʿim discusses the prescription that fields must periodically lie fallow, the prohibition on plant hybridization, and regulations governing what portion of a harvest is to be given to priests, to Levites (a priestly clan), and to the poor.

      The second order, Moʿed (“Festival”), consists of 12 tractates that deal with ceremonies, rituals, observances, and prohibitions related to the Sabbath, to religious festivals, to fast days, and to such other days as are marked by regular religious observance—e.g., periodic contributions to the Temple of Jerusalem.

       Nashim (“Women”), the third order of the Mishna, discusses married life in seven tractates. It thus explains religious laws concerning betrothals, marriage contracts, divorce, bills of divorce, and certain ascetic vows that affect married life.

      The fourth order, Neziqin (“Damages”), has 10 tractates covering civil and criminal law as related to damages, theft, labour relations, usury, real estate, partnerships, tenant relations, inheritance, court composition, jurisdiction and testimony, erroneous decisions of the Sanhedrin (high court), and physical punishments, including death. Idolatry, which is punishable by death, is also discussed. The tractate Avot (“Fathers”) seems to have been included in the fourth order to teach a moral way of life that would preclude serious transgressions of the law and thereby diminish the necessity of punishment. It became one of the most popular pieces of Talmudic literature; in English translations it is usually called The Ethics of the Fathers.

       Qodashim (“Holy Things”), the fifth order, provides a detailed description of the Temple of Jerusalem complex and discusses laws regulating Temple sacrifices, other offerings, and donations. It has 11 tractates.

      The last of the Mishna orders is Ṭohorot (“Purifications”), divided into 12 tractates. It considers laws regarding the ritual purity of vessels, dwellings, foods, and persons and deals with various rituals of purification. The text also provides considerable information on ritual objects.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Mishna — or Mishnah [mish′nä] n. pl. Mishnayot [mish΄nä yōt′] [Heb mishna, lit., (oral) instruction < root šnh, to repeat, (later) learn, teach] 1. the first part of the Talmud, containing traditional oral interpretations of scriptural ordinances… …   English World dictionary

  • Mishna — Mish na, n. [NHeb. mishn[=a]h, i. e., repetition, doubling, explanation (of the divine law), fr. Heb. sh[=a]n[=a]h to change, to repeat.] A collection or digest of Jewish traditions and explanations of Scripture, forming the text of the Talmud.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mishna — La Mishna (en hébreu משנה, répétition ) est la première et la plus importante des sources rabbiniques obtenues par compilation écrite des lois orales juives, projet défendu par les pharisiens, et considéré comme le premier ouvrage de littérature… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mishná — Final de página de la Mishná. La Mishná (del hebreo מִשְׁנָה, estudio, repetición ), es un cuerpo exegético de leyes judías compiladas, que recoge y consolida la tradición oral judía desarrollada durante siglos desde los tiempos de la Torá o ley… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mishna — Mischna Kommentar von Rabbi Szemen Aryeh Surawicz; Radzilow 1873 Die Mischna (hebräisch: משנה‎ Wiederholung) ist die wichtigste Sammlung religionsgesetzlicher Überlieferungen des rabbinischen Judentums. Sie bildet die Basis des Talmud …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mishná — o Misná La compilación de la ley oral judía más antigua y fehaciente, que complementa las leyes de las Escrituras hebreas. Fue compilada por una serie de sabios durante dos siglos y Yehudá ha Nasí le dio su forma definitiva en el s. III AD.… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mishna — noun The oldest part of the Talmud, rabbinical writings collected by Rabbi Judah the Holy and published in 250 in Javneh (Jamnia, in Israel). The Mishna is believed by Jews to have been handed down orally from the patriarch prophet Moses, who… …   Wiktionary

  • Mishna — noun see Mishnah …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • MISHNA —    the oral law of the Jews, which is divided into six parts, and constitutes the text of the Talmud, of which the Gemara is the commentary …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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